The Hawkesbury River system is a major social, environmental and economic asset for the state of New South Wales. Located on the doorstep of the Greater Sydney, the river system the largest one of the largest in the state, and encompasses the Hawksbury-Nepean River, Pittwater, Brisbane Water and Broken Bay. The river system provides a stunning natural environment, areas of cultural significance, a multitude of social and recreational benefits, and is a key contributor to the regional economy.

In accordance with the NSW Coastal Management Framework, management of the estuary system and its tributaries will be guided by a Coastal Management Program (CMP). The six (6) councils that border the tidal waterways of the system have agreed to work together to develop an integrated, whole of system CMP that will set the long-term strategy for the coordinated management of the system and its catchment.


Work with six Councils to develop an integrated, whole of system Coastal Management Program for the Hawkesbury-Nepean River System.


Hawkesbury-Nepean River


Central Coast Council, Northern Beaches Council, Ku-ring-gai Council, Hornsby Shire Council, the Hills Shire Council and the Hawkesbury City Council

In September 2019, the combined team of Water Technology and Molino Stewart was commissioned by the Project Steering Committee to deliver Stage 1 of this CMP. The project is one of the biggest of its kind, and will involve collaboration between all councils and other public authorities that have management responsibilities across the Hawksbury-Nepean River system; including 6 estuary Councils, 18 catchment Councils, and over 20 state government agencies.

Stage 1 of the CMP involved:

  • Reviewing the environmental, social, economic, planning and governance context of the system;
  • Review and evaluation of past approaches to management of the river and its catchments;
  • Developing a shared understanding of current challenges and opportunities;
  • Assessing information gaps to be filled to support sound decision-making; and
  • Planning for the future stages of the project. This included developing a proposed a governance structure, and developing approaches to engagement and resourcing required over the remaining CMP stages.

The project was completed in April 2020. Despite the complexity of this project, and the significant stakeholder engagement requirements, we are pleased to say that the project was delivered on time and on budget. The project steering committee and NSW government agency representatives were extremely satisfied with the management of the project and the quality of the final report.

Background on Coastal Management Programs (CMP) and summary of the Hawkesbury-Nepean River CMP Stage 1 findings.

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